The first half of the Texas Longhorns‘ matchup with the Kansas Jayhawks this afternoon at Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium was largely yawn-worthy. The Longhorns went to the locker room with a 14-3 lead after a scoreless first quarter during which you could hear a pin drop among the sellout crowd of 97,000 plus.
Kansas was never a threat to Texas in spite of Texas’ average play on the offensive side of the ball. Junior running back Malcolm Brown was the bright spot for the Texas offense, running for 119 yards on 20 carries, scoring a career-high four touchdowns on the afternoon. Brown’s playing time has seen a substantial uptick over the past two weeks with the virtual disappearance of Joe Bergeron and the struggles of lead running back John Gray to finish inside the red zone. Brown definitely made his case for additional playing time in November as the Texas schedule stiffens with his strong performance this afternoon.
Case McCoy was 20-29 for 196 yards, but didn’t throw a touchdown and threw two interceptions. Jaxon Shipley stood out among the wide receiving corps, with sophomore wideout Marcus Johnson making a couple of key plays during the afternoon as well. Johnson, in fact, is starting to get more looks than senior wideout Mike Davis who only posted one catch for five yards on the afternoon and has been limited over the course of the past few weeks.
True freshman quarterback Tyrone Swoopes saw some snaps in garbage time for the Longhorns and the verdict is still out among those who follow the program closely whether the decision to burn his redshirt made against the TCU Horned Frogs was actually the right one. Chances are Swoopes won’t be involved in important enough situations over the next month for Texas fans to know for sure.
In short, the Texas offense was adequate against a Kansas defense that was over-matched at the line of scrimmage and was pushed off the ball all afternoon by an experienced and consistently improving Texas defensive line. On the defensive side, Texas was keyed by the play of defensive lineman Chris Whaley and linebacker Dalton Santos who have established themselves as the lead-by-example leaders of the Texas defense this season.
Whaley set a new Texas record returning a fumble for a touchdown for the second time this season while Santos was consistently involved in big plays showing a consistent nose for the football which has made him one of the best positional defenders for the Longhorns in 2013.
There were some positives for the Longhorns to take out of a win that was ho-hum, but a win nonetheless as the team enters the gauntlet of their Big 12 slate, starting with a trip to Morgantown, West Virginia to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers next Saturday and then with contests against Big 12 contenders Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Baylor all looming in the not-so-distant future.
A win over Kansas has started to become a foregone conclusion, but unfortunately for Texas, it’s the last foregone conclusion left in 2013.
Kris Hughes is a Senior Writer, Business Analyst and College Content Coordinator for Rant Sports.